A “Crazy” InterpolationPastor Mike Jr., who was named artist of the year, performed two songs: “Big” and “Amazing.” In “Amazing,” he interpolated Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy,” a No. 2 smash on the Billboard Hot 100 in 2016. Pastor Mike Jr. won artist of the year on the strength of his album Big: Freedom Sessions, which also won rap hip hop gospel album of the year. He also won urban/inspirational single or performance of the year for “I Got It.”The Clark Sisters Sing The Clark SistersThe Clark Sisters received the James Cleveland lifetime achievement award. Artists receiving such accolades often watch as other performers sing their greatest hits. But here, the stated message was “There’s only one group that can pay fitting tribute to The Clark Sisters – The Clark Sisters.” The quartet sang parts of four songs: “Is My Living in Vain,” “Blessed & Highly,” “You Brought the Sunshine” and “His Love.” The Clark Sisters were joined by cast members from the biopic The Clark Sisters: First Ladies of Gospel, which aired on Lifetime in April 2020. One of The Clark Sisters accepted the award by saying “We claim this as our gospel Grammy.” Actually, The Clark Sisters are two-time Grammy winners, though they have yet to receive a lifetime achievement award from the Recording Academy.Pastor Shirley Says “Get Vaccinated”Pastor Shirley Caesar urged people to get vaccinated against COVID-19 as she received the ambassador Dr. Bobby Jones legends award. “I’ve had both of my shots,” she said, and recalled a recent photo shoot where she asked the photographer if he’d been vaccinated. In recounting the story, she pulled way back when the answer came back no. This was a helpful message that may reach some people who have been hard to reach through more traditional means: Get your shot for Pastor Shirley! (Caesar, an 11-time Grammy winner, received a lifetime achievement award from the Recording Academy in 2017.)The Queen of Soul & GospelLady Tramaine Hawkins, who hosted or co-hosted three of the first four Stellar Awards shows in the ’80s, received the Aretha Franklin icon award. Avery Sunshine, Tamela Mann and Yolanda Adams performed Hawkins songs in tribute. Franklin, who died in 2018, was referenced a second time in the show: The new Franklin biopic Respect was the subject of a commercial during the two-hour broadcast.It’s Just His YearJonathan McReynolds performed two songs: “Grace” and, with Mali Music, “Movin’ On.” McReynolds won three awards on the night: male vocalist of the year, contemporary male vocalist of the year and producer of the year, all for his album People. McReynolds and Mali Music won a Grammy in March for “Movin’ On,” which was voted best gospel performance/song.And That’s Why They’re the New Artist of the YearMaverick City Music’s “Jireh” was one of the night’s standout performances and helped explain why the group won the awards for new artist of the year and album of the year, both for their album Maverick City Music Vol 3 Part 1.Big Impact in Small DosesThe show spotlighted three emerging artists in 90-second performances in which they stood in an aisle and sang a song fragment. These were among the night’s most impactful performances, perhaps because they were so low-key. There’s a temptation in gospel performances for performers to dial it up to 10 in terms of intensity. That can come across as overwrought, especially on television. That wasn’t a problem with Nia Allen’s “Wait,” Terrian’s “Stayed on Him” or Jokia’s “Yahweh.” Let’s hope that if and when they are granted full performance slots, they remember that quite often, less is more.
Lauren Patten Thanks Trans and Nonbinary ‘Jagged Little Pill’ Colleagues While Accepting Best Actress in a Musical
Patten’s comments follow the news that the show’s lead producers, Vivek J. Tiwary, Arvind Ethan David and Eva Price, had hired the external firm Jay Hewlin and The Hewlin Group to investigate allegations made by former cast members, including nonbinary actor Nora Schell, who alleged in a social media post mistreatment by stage management and…
Patten’s comments follow the news that the show’s lead producers, Vivek J. Tiwary, Arvind Ethan David and Eva Price, had hired the external firm Jay Hewlin and The Hewlin Group to investigate allegations made by former cast members, including nonbinary actor Nora Schell, who alleged in a social media post mistreatment by stage management and other members of the show’s creative leadership in regards to their health care. The producers also announced they are immediately launching an external review of the show’s policies and procedures.That followed a lengthy Sept. 17 statement to the production’s website and social media, acknowledging missteps in how they publicly spoke about and identified Patton’s character Jo, a lovestruck teen dealing with religious parents, their sexuality and a souring relationship while also going on their own gender journey, which has no confirmed outcome in the show. The letter also outlined significant changes to the productions on an off-stage approach to trans and nonbinary identities.A day after the statement, Patten shared a video conversation with Shakina Nayfack, trans writer, actress and activist, to increase transparency around the conversations that were being had about Jo, and to be accountable for harm resulting from the erasure of Jo’s gender journey. Patten linked her comments to a broader conversation on Broadway about transparency and the production changes that have occurred in regards to representation, particularly over the last year.“The truth is that I did not know as much as I should and stepping into something that I did know would resonate with a lot of folks — a lot of queer folks and a lot of trans folks,” Patten said. “I should have known more how to talk about it. I should have known how to exactly, as you said, affirm the experience without trying to be it.”This article originally appeared on The Hollywood Reporter.
Britney Spears Thinks These ‘Cheesy’ Instagram Photos Look Like Her Yearbook Pictures
Britney Spears returned to Instagram after a brief hiatus recently, and she’s back to sharing some of her selfies.Friday night (Sept. 24), the pop star posted a pair of pictures of herself in which she’s seen sweetly gazing up at the camera. With a floral crop top and her hair pulled half back, Spears’ look…
Britney Spears returned to Instagram after a brief hiatus recently, and she’s back to sharing some of her selfies.Friday night (Sept. 24), the pop star posted a pair of pictures of herself in which she’s seen sweetly gazing up at the camera. With a floral crop top and her hair pulled half back, Spears’ look in the snapshots apparently reminded her of some old photos — her yearbook pictures.Some of Spears’ actual yearbook portraits have circulated around the internet in the past. (A quick Google image search will pull them up.)
Saweetie & Darren Criss Talk Performing at the ‘Celebratory’ SHEIN x Rock the Runway
“I love that SHEIN’s goal for this event is to create a one-stop destination for fashionistas to discover up and coming creators across all aspects of the industry,” Saweetie tells Billboard of the opportunity. “I love that SHEIN is opening that door for everyone by shining a light on the biggest of stars to the indie artists.…
“I love that SHEIN’s goal for this event is to create a one-stop destination for fashionistas to discover up and coming creators across all aspects of the industry,” Saweetie tells Billboard of the opportunity. “I love that SHEIN is opening that door for everyone by shining a light on the biggest of stars to the indie artists. I’m passionate about so many things… music, fashion, beauty, and I’ve been so fortunate to pursue my dreams. Music is my ultimate love and it’s opened the door for all these other amazing things.”Fellow performer Darren Criss is equally excited to be included in such a unique opportunity, telling Billboard, “I really like the idea of not your typical fashion show and it being more of a celebration of dance and music and contextualizing the clothes via the music and performative elements and seeing how clothes look on all different kinds of people with different kinds of movement and music. That thinking out of the box factor of a typical fashion show was immediately appealing to me.”Saweetie shared that for her performance, which will showcase the Ski Party looks, fans should expect “lots of dancing” choreographed by Brya Woods and assistant choreographer Aahkilah Cornelius.Criss is gearing up to perform his new single “For a Night Like This,” which he describes as an “unapologetically celebratory jam.””It’s all about celebrating with the people you love,” he adds. “It’s such a vibrant song and the creativity that they were going for with this fashion show was a really great match for the song I wanted to perform. I’m happy I can showcase that vibrancy and colorfulness.”Criss, whose performance will accompany the City Sleek styles, emphasized his gratitude for SHEIN bringing his song to life with “a hundred dancers of all different backgrounds, shapes and sizes, with a variety of movement. That is something that really takes a song to the next level. It takes it from a song to a spectacle and a visually exciting experience. It’s something we all hope can happen with our songs when we write them.””Any opportunity I have to be around dancers and have dancing in my life – I’m not a dancer myself, but any time I can have that in my life, whether it’s through one of my songs or walking through life, I embrace that opportunity,” he continues. “The more dance, the better.”SHEIN x Rock the Runway will also help raise awareness and donations to benefit National Action Network, one of the nation’s leading civil rights organizations and Youth Emerging Stronger, which helps to build futures for foster and homeless youth. SHEIN is donating $350,000 across both charities.”While I love to use my platforms to entertain, it’s just as important for me to educate and make a positive impact on the world and I love that SHEIN is acting on this by partnering with these organizations,” Saweetie says of the event’s charitable aspect. “I’m huge supporter of education and giving everyone access to the knowledge that will help them to grow and succeed in the world regardless of their background.””It’s obviously the bonus for anything you do,” Criss agrees. “You’re happy to support anything that supports others beyond the preliminary presentation of ‘Here are some cool clothes, here are some amazing dancers, here’s a cool song.’ In the process, we’re also shining a light on an organization that are doing a lot of good in the world. I always prefer that to be a component in anything I do.”Since this is a fashion show, after all, how would Saweetie and Darren Criss describe their personal style? “My style is always growing and evolving,” Saweetie explains, “Because I am constantly researching and studying designers and their collections throughout the past. I love to play with fashion and take risks with my style – anything glam! I draw a lot of inspiration from the 90s and early 2000s and try to mix these retro and nostalgic elements with the feminine aesthetic of old Hollywood glamour.””I’m a big believer in dressing for the party,” Criss says. “This is a much larger idea that goes into music, that goes into how I approach everything in life, which is knowing what the venue is, honoring what the dress code is and then doing your own spin on it to be a little unique and not like everybody else. Just enough of something that is accessible so that people feel comfortable around your choice, but you’re also pushing it a little bit. I like toeing that line in general. I’m not saying I’m a fashionista at all, but it depends what day of the week it is, what coffee shop I’m walking to and what part of town. All those variables have their own set of rules that I like to abide by. But I’m definitely not one type of thing and am never thoughtless, that’s for sure.”Catch the SHEIN x Rock the Runway event when its streams on Sunday (Sept. 26) at 5 p.m. ET/2 p.m. PT on the SHEIN app, and the company’s Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and Facebook pages. Shop the SHEIN x Rock the Runway looks here.